How Yoga Benefits Brain Health

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This is a guest post.

Generally speaking, people are often quite sceptical about the benefits of yoga. After all, it’s one of the gentlest forms of exercise – what could it possibly offer that a brisk walk can’t already provide? The answer is simple: yoga works not solely with the body, but also the brain. It’s hard to see how mental gears are turning from the outside, but the mindset of yoga provides a plethora of positive effects on the broad. Think of it as a chain reaction that leads to a better quality of life. Here are the 5 ways your brain benefits from yoga!

 

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Stress Reduction

When you’re really overwhelmed, your brain is likely to be firing off a million different thoughts and emotions. This mental chaos happens to all of us at one point or another – particularly those of us who have demanding jobs and families to care for. Yoga encourages you to clear your mind and focus on subtleties. It’s your opportunity to breathe and ground yourself. Once you’ve found the space to mentally quieten your mind, you’ll find it easier to relax and de-stress.

Increased Happiness

Yoga teaches mindfulness, which teaches us to live in the moment. Since yoga also encourages stress reduction, it’s easier to reach this pleasant mindful state. When your thoughts aren’t swarming, it’s far simpler to keep your eyes open and take things as they come. In fact, some people dealing with anxiety and depression attribute their coping skills to the mindfulness techniques taught through yoga.

Improved Mental Clarity

You could be dealing with brain fog and have no idea. You may be so used to the haze looming over you that you assume it’s always been there. Clearing away this fog leads to greater mental stamina and improved reaction times. A published study called The Acute Effects of Yoga on Executive Function clearly demonstrated that its participants were able to respond to tasks in a timely and accurate manner much more efficiently than they were after any other kind of stimulating exercise – namely stereotypical cardio workouts.

Restful Sleep

The breathing and relaxation technique involved in yoga have many implications off the mat. You can do them anywhere, whether you’re sitting at your desk at work or riding the train home after a long day. One of the most beneficial places to utilize these techniques is just as you’re turning in for the night. If you’d prefer, you can even squeeze in a 20 minute yoga session before you slide into your pyjamas. You’ll rest easily and get that 7 to 8 hours of sleep you need to take on your busy day.

A Mental Workout

Research conducted at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine came to some interesting conclusions about the way yoga affects the brain. Certain areas of the brain, namely the somatosensory cortex, were actually larger in people who regularly practiced yoga. The somatosensory cortex is the part of the brain that facilitates coordination. This is the part of the brain that tells us where our arms and legs are, and what we need to do to move them. The strengthening of these connections makes for better balance, hand-eye coordination, and stronger athletic ability. No amount of muscular strength can compare to the internal fine tuning offered by a somatosensory cortex workout.

 

With yoga becoming increasingly mainstream, there’s nothing to lose by giving it an honest shot. Your brain and body will appreciate it. You may be astounded to see the way your perspectives and general health take a turn for the better!

 

Kelly Smith is an experienced writer and tutor working at Career FAQs. She’s keen on new motivational tools and productivity hacks. She’s also interested in healthy lifestyle trends.

 

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